Kitty Writes: Some random thoughts on blogging…

Keeping a blog is a commitment, especially if your blog is sponsored. It takes time and work to maintain and requires updating regularly to retain its audience.

A couple of weeks ago I started a new RL job, so I haven’t been updating as much as I would like. This made me feel pretty miserable. But then I realised something; I felt so obligated to my own blogging regime that I was making myself feel like a failure because I couldn’t update as regularly as I wanted to.   Beyond everything this blog has always been an outlet for my writing and founded on enjoyment, rather than necessity. So I had a word with myself, relieved the pressure and felt much better for it.

I don’t owe it to anyone other than myself to keep this blog updated, which is a freedom many bloggers don’t enjoy.  That’s the problem with being a mega-successful blogger, content has to be fresh and new to bring readers in and keep page sponsors happy.  But the fact remains that updating a blog every day is just impossible for me these days.
The reasons for this are many, but in my case it’s primarily because of how long it takes me to write a post and create the photographs that go with it. To illustrate what I mean, let’s break down a typical blog post:

  • For a start I have to source something to write a post about. This means purchasing item(s), styling my avatar and creating a look that’s interesting.
  • I then have to choose my location for photographs.  More often than not I’ll shoot against a white background because I love the way it looks, but I still have to erect a photo studio and choose a pose.
  • Take photographs. Often this will take time because the shot that I imagined initially proves not to work, or I get carried away and take way too many pictures making it hard for me to choose!
  • Post-processing photographs (If required; now that my graphics card is more sprightly I’m finding that I don’t need to do much work on my pictures unless I actually want to)
  • Writing the actual post and publishing.
  • Promoting the post via news outlets like Facebook.

Of course, writing the post is what takes the longest, for me at least!
I have NEVER been the kind of blogger who writes a few brief sentences about the item I am featuring. There are plenty that do that and if that works for them that’s excellent, but it’s not really Kittywitchin’s style. I like to talk about creators, textures and items in-depth. I often like to write about how they make me feel, and my emotions too. In short, I like to waffle a bit, but that’s what makes this blog unique in a number of ways.  I’ve had a lot of feedback from creators telling me that they like that too, because they feel that their products are valued and appraised properly, and ‘sold’ to the audience more effectively.

Something new that I do now is publicise my posts via my FB page, and a number of FB groups that I am a member of.  I’ve found this to be a really effective way of generating traffic for the blog, and I’ve noted my blog-followers increase too, so it is well worth the effort.

The truth is a blog-post is not something that can be accomplished in a matter of minutes, not an effective one anyway, It can take me a couple of hours to write, edit and then publish. Add to that the length of time it takes to create the picture, and then list the items featured and yup, you’re looking at an afternoon of work at least. Are you surprised by that?
This is why my intention is to keep to my blogging regimen of two-three times a week. I would LOVE to write more, but I don’t have the time (or the money) to be able to do that. (Bear in mind I don’t get that many blogger packs sent my way so I have to self-fund. No that isn’t a whine; I don’t mind at all!)
In short,  I love keeping a blog, and that’s why Kittywitchin’ has been around for as long as it has; it stems purely from my love of Second Life.
A love that grows constantly, and long may that continue.

Kitty’s 1500th Blog Post!

Snapshot_011Can you believe that this is my 1500th post on the blog? 

Blimey! I wanted to write something suitably awesome to mark the occasion, but quite honestly I can’t think of anything windswept and interesting to post at the moment.  I’m still recovering from the worst cold I’ve had in an age in real life, and it’s really taken a toll on me. Ghastly germs!So instead of my writing a post about something new, a place to visit or an item that you must own, I have a favour to ask.  Second Life, as we all know by now, is a wonderful place to meet and mingle, and we sometimes take our chats off-line onto various forums like Plurk, Facebook and SLUniverse to name a few. However, oftentimes there’s a lot of drama and negativity played out upon these spaces.

I’ve said it before, but I really don’t understand why people hiding behind a keyboard think it gives them free reign to insult, belittle or be downright rude to people.  It’s one thing to have an opinion, but quite another to share it in a hurtful way. It’s such a simple phrase, but the saying “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say it” springs to mind.

It’s easy to make fun of other avatars. Heck, I was doing it myself yesterday, I’m not innocent of such immature behaviour.  But after I’d done it, I actually thought what a mean thing it was to do. Even though they will never know, my words are still out there, floating in cyberspace. And I should know better.   Just because someone chooses to express themselves in a certain way in-world it doesn’t give me, or anyone else, the right to make fun of them. We’re as diverse in the metaverse as we are in the universe, and I should be more mindful of that.

So, starting right now, I want us all to be a little more Second Life Conscious.

Words on a screen have just as much power, if not a little more, than words spoken out loud.  We live in an age of  ever-present criticism and condemnation through social media and where does that lead to? Hatred and misunderstanding.  It’s not wrong to say that we need to spread more love in the virtual world, and it doesn’t have to be the kind that requires a Hud or a Poseball.  Spread the Second Life Love! Let’s be more mindful of what we say in our virtual spaces, and how we present ourselves. Would you say that in real life? Why is it OK to say something in a virtual world that you would never say in the real one? Think on that point for a moment.Be graceful.  Manners are NOT a bad thing, they exist for a reason.  Let’s show gratitude to creators instead of constantly criticising. If you buy something and you really love it, drop them a few lines on a notecard and tell them!

People are quick to complain, but rarely as quick to congratulate.

The next time you are in a crowded area in Second Life, or at an event, take a good long look at the avatars that surround you. Read the profiles, snoop if you will, and then PAY SOMEONE A COMPLIMENT.

It doesn’t have to be over-stated either. In fact, this is something that I have been doing for a while now; it’s sort of a Second Life spiritual practise, and not only do you make someone feel good by doing it, you’ll feel pretty good yourself too. Double win!

So, what kind of things do you say?  Here’s an example: Yesterday I spotted an amazing avatar when I was shopping in ISON. In private chat I messaged the avatar and wrote, very simply, “I love your avatar!”  This was a genuine compliment, straight from my heart.  I really liked the way that her avatar was styled, and also because she was unusual.  She had an aged look to her, something that you really don’t see in Second Life that often. I very quickly received a delighted response. “Wow! Thank you so much for saying that!” and that was it. I had a smile on my real life chops, and I’m pretty sure she did too. It was THAT simple.

Of course, you could follow these words up and enter into a conversation, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Oftentimes I just follow my compliments with the phrase “YVW! (You’re very welcome)” or “NP (No Problem) Have a great day!” and that’s that.

It’s such a simple thing to do yet it REALLY does make such a difference. And if you aren’t doing this already (I’m sure some people reading this probably are) then I’d like you to please, give it a go.

Because I know from my own experience that it will make difference, so imagine what will happen if we all start to do this!

OK, in the grand scheme of things this isn’t earth-shattering or life-changing, but imagine how you will feel in a week if you’ve been practising this every day? And even more importantly, imagine how you will have made other people feel too! So please, spread the word.  Instead of turning up at an event, camming around, making a few purchases and leaving, next time take a peek at the avatars around you. Is there one who stands out? Do they have a really great sense of style that you admire? Or are they just incredibly cute and have impressed you with their look? TELL THEM! There’s nothing creepy about a quick compliment, and you may make a real difference to their day.  Plus you get to speak to some pretty amazing people too. (Well, I say people, yesterday I complimented a giant hamster on his cuteness. I think he was pleased!)

We’re a community, and in a metaverse as disparate as ours it’s easy to forget that. With the festive season of goodwill fast approaching, let’s start early in-world, and spread the love.

Thank you for sticking with Kittywitchin’ through 1500 blog posts. Here’s to the next 1500 and beyond! 

(PS If you DO follow the steps above, please share your experiences in the comments below.)